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Shades of Living

Sweet & Salty Pretzels

- Last minute party snack -

With the holiday party season looming, I want to share with you one of my favourite party snacks. It is not only delicious but also quick and easy to prepare.

Here is what you need

- salted pretzels

- white chocolate or white chocolate glaze

- dark chocolate or dark chocolate glaze

 

0ptional

-  candy sprinkles or other toppings

 

Directions

1. Melt the dark chocolate in a water bath.

2. Dip the pretzels into the melted dark chocolate. You decide how much of each pretzel you want        to coat with chocolate.

3. If you want to, you can cover the pretzel with additional candy sprinkles or other toppings of            your choice. Add your desired toppings before the chocolate hardens.

4. Repeat steps 1-3 for the white chocolate.

5. Let the chocolate glaze dry.

 

That's it. Easy, isn't it? 


The white chocolate glaze takes much longer to dry down than the dark one. So, if you are under time pressure, I would go for the dark chocolate.

 


Will you give it a try?

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Shades of Living

A light summer Dessert

- A summer dessert which isn't ice -

I am back from my summer vacation in Rome. I need an extra day to get back to my normal routine, that's why I am switching up my post schedule. Instead of Wednesday, I moved my Outfit Post to Friday.

Today, I want to share with you one of my favourite summer desserts. It is an own invention, that's why it doesn't have a real name. I love it because it is a mixture between a cake and a dessert and it does not lie hard in the stomach on those hot summer days.

Here's what you need

 

 

 

- 8 half ball baking moulds (get it here )

Ingredients for the Cake Base

- 200g flour

- 120g margarine

- 35 g sugar

- 1 egg yolk

- a pinch of salt

- a bit of finely grated lemon rind 

 

1. Mix the flour and margarine together.

2. Add the other ingredients and knead into a dough.

3. Cover the dough and let it rest in the refrigerator for 2 hours.

4. 2 hours later you can roll out the dough and cut out 8 cake bases 

    with one of your baking moulds.

5. Bake the 8 cake bases at 190° C for 8-10 minutes.

6. Leave the cake bases to cool and continue with the cream.

Ingredients for the Cream for 8 persons

- 500 g natural yogurt

- 200 g sour cream

- 250 g whipped cream

- 4-5 leaves of white gelatin

- sugar depending on personal taste

 

1. Soak the gelatin leaves in water.

2. Stir the remaining ingredients to a creamy paste.

3. Carefully fold the gelatin into the cream.

4. Spread the mixture into the baking moulds.

5. Put them in the refrigerator until the cream gets firm.

6. Now take your cake bases and place them on the open side of your baking moulds.

7. Press the cake bases softly into the tin to remove the cake without destroying the cream topping.

8. Now you can decorate the mini cakes to your preference. I used a little bit of chocolate coating.

 

Let me know if you gave it a try.

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Shades of Living

Summer Recipe

- Woodruff Punch -

... but uh-oh those summer nights 

As summer is finally just around the corner (fingers crossed), I thought I share with you a quick and easy Punch Recipe to change up the usual beverages for your next some summer party. Here is what you need.

Ingredients

 

- 1 small bunch of woodruff

- 1 shot glass rum

- 2 packages of vanilla sugar

- 3-4 bottle sweet white wine

- 1 bottle dry sparkling wine

- ice cubes 

 

Directions

 

1. Tie up the woodruff and remove any flowers from it if present.

2. Pour the rum, vanilla sugar and one bottle of white wine into a large jar. Place the bunch of         woodruff into the mixture. Be careful that the stems of the woodruff do not touch the wine         mixture and leave it for a night.

3. On the next day, add the remaining 2-3 bottles of white wine as well as the sparkling wine to     the mixture.

4. Finally, put ice cubes into the wine mixture and the Woodruff Punch is ready to serve. 

As always, let me know if you gave it a try.

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Shades of Living

Easter Baking

- A quick and easy Easter cake -

I know I am a little bit late to the Easter game but better late than never, right? 

 

Every year, the week before Easter, we start to bake Easter Cake Lambs as a gift to friends and one for ourselves, of course. So if you are looking for a little present for the Easter celebrations, how about a self-baked Easter Lamb.

Here is what you need

 

 

 

- 3-D cake mold in the shape of an Easter        lamb

 

  You can get one here


Dough Ingredients

 

- 75 g butter or margarine

- 70 g sugar 

- 1 package of vanilla sugar

- 2 eggs

- a pinch of salt

- 125 g flour

- 1 level teaspoon of baking powder

 

Cake glaze

 

- icing sugar

- the liquid of half a lemon

- grated coconut

- pastry brush

Here is what you need to do

 

1. Beat the butter/ margarine, sugar, and vanilla sugar until frothy.

2. Add eggs, salt, and beat together everything well.

3. Fold in the flour and baking powder until all ingredients combine.

4. Lightly grease the baking tin and then dust it with flour.

5. Pour the dough into the lamb cake mold and bake in the oven at 180°C for about 60 -70             minutes.

6. Take cake out of the oven, let cool off and remove from the baking form.

7. Mix icing sugar, water, and lemon juice to a slightly plumb, but easy to spread mass. 

8. Take the pastry brush and glaze the cake with the icing sugar mass.

9. While the glazing is still sticky, sprinkle the lamb with grated coconut. Now let it dry.

Let me know if you gave it a try and Happy Easter Holidays. 

2 Comments

Shades of Living

Rolled Oats Cookies

- Quick home-baked cookies for every day -

I feel home-baked cookies always taste the best. To avoid to fall back on processed cookies, I always look out for recipes which are not too time-consuming. Today's Rolled Oats Cookies belong in this quick and easy preparation category. So let's dive right in.

Ingredients

 

250 g Butter

500 g Rolled Oats

2 Eggs

150 g Sugar

1 Package of Vanilla Sugar

Salt

50 g Flour

1 Heaped Tablespoon Baking Powder

Baking Paper

Recipe

 

1. Boil up butter until foamy, then stir in the oat flakes and let it cool down.

 

2. Beat eggs, sugar, vanilla sugar and a pinch of salt until frothy. Mix flour and baking powder         and stir in frothy mixture. Finally, fold with oat flakes mix using a wooden spoon.

 

3. Use 2 tablespoons to place small heaps of the oat flakes mix onto the baking paper.

 

4. Bake at 170°C for about 20 min.

 

5. Let the cookies cool completely and then remove carefully from the baking paper. 

Let me know if you gave it a try. If so, enjoy!

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Shades of Living

Low-Calorie Christmas Cookies

After last week's traditional German Xmas Stollen, I want to share with you, my favourite non-traditional Christmas recipe - Sour Cream Christmas Cookies

These babies are sugar-free yet still delicious. Meaning no bad conscience if you eat a few more and zero risks to fall into a sugar coma over the holidays. Oh, and they are done in no time. 

Ingredients

- 500 g flour

- 400 g margarine or butter

- 1 pot of sour cream 

 

For Decoration

- 1 egg yolk

- coarse sugar

- almond slivers 

 

Directions

1. Knead a dough of flour, butter, and sour cream.

2. Roll out the dough - not too thinly (ca. 0,5 cm) - and cut out the cookies using your desired         cookie cutter.

3. Place the cookies on a baking tray with baking paper. Now brush the cookies with egg yolk,         overlay with almond slivers/coarse sugar and bake them in the oven for approximately 15-18       minutes.

Tip: By replacing the coarse sugar/almond slivers with cheese, the cookies can be served as a hearty snack to enjoy with a glass of wine.

 

Enjoy baking and bon appétit! Until then, have a good one.

2 Comments

Shades of Living

Christmas Baking - How to bake a Christmas Stollen

To spread some Christmas vibes on my blog, I thought I share with you a traditional German Christmas baking recipe- the Christmas Stollen. The Christmas Stollen is a seasonal alternative to a classic cake or cookies. Here is how you do it.

Ingredients

 

- 500 g flour

- 1/2 l milk

- 40 g yeast

- 150 g sugar

- 1 package of vanilla sugar

- a pinch of salt

- 250 g low-fat curd

- 1 egg

- 1 egg yolk

- 125 g butter (soft or liquid)

- Cardamom

- Bitter almond oil

- grated lemon peel

- 100 g candied lemon peel

- 100 g candied orange peel

- 100 g sultanas

- 100 g currants

- 100 g ground almonds

- melted butter to brush the dough

- icing sugar

 

Tools

Christmas Stollen baking tin

- Rolling Pin

 

Note: The special baking tin is not a must-have, you can also mould the dough to achieve the "Christmas Stollen shape".

Preparation

 

1.  Pour the flour into a large mixing bowl. 

2. Make a little hollow in the middle and add yeast, milk, sugar, vanilla sugar, salt, low-fat curd,     eggs, soft/liquid butter, spices, and knead to make a firm dough.

3. Cover and let the dough rest for 30 minutes.

4. Now knead in the candied lemon peel, candied orange peel, sultanas, currants, and almonds.

5. If you use the baking tin, pour the cake into it.

    Otherwise, shape the dough into a loaf. Take the rolling pin to press a hollow into one side of       the dough, fold the bigger section over the smaller. Leave ca. 5 cm of the tinier dough part           uncovered. 

6. Brush the dough with melted butter and bake for about 60-70 minutes at 200°C.

7. Immediately after baking, remove the Stollen from the form, spread with melted butter        again, and then sprinkle thickly with icing sugar.

 

For serving, cut the Christmas Stollen into slices. Bon appétit and don't forget to comment how it turned out. Until then, have a good one.

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Shades of Living

Seasonal Cooking - Pumpkin Soup

Nothing embodies autumn more than pumpkins, from decoration to dishes, pumpkins are everywhere. So just in time before this season ends, a delicious and quick pumpkin soup recipe.

Ingredients

 

- 2 onions

- curry

- 600g pumpkin flesh

- 15g butter or margarine

- 1/2 l vegetable broth 

- 100g orange juice

- 100g coconut milk

- salt

- ginger

- sugar

- 100g whipped cream

- 40g pumpkin seeds

 

 

Preparation

 

1. Dice the onions and fry them in hot oil until glassy.

2. Briefly, steam the curry with the onions.

3. Dice the pumpkin and add it to the boiling vegetable broth

   (retain a little bit of the pumpkin), bring it to boil and simmer.

4. Puree the soup.

5. Season with orange juice, coconut milk, ginger, salt and a pinch of sugar.

6. Beat the cream till almost stiff and fold it under the soup.

7. Cut retained pumpkin into fine stripes and together with the pumpkin seeds, sprinkle it over the soup.

 

Let me know, if you gave it a try. Until then, have a good one.

 

2 Comments

Shades of Living

DIY Healthy Snack - Sesame/oat crispbread

It's been awhile since I shared a favourite recipe of mine and instead of something sweet I opt for a healthy nevertheless tasty snack -Sesame/Oat Crispbread. What more can you ask for? And here is what you need:

Ingredients for Sesame/Oat Crispbread

 

250g whole grain wheat flour
250g crisp oat flakes
120g sesame
  50g sunflower seeds
two heaped tablespoons of pumpkin seeds
two heaped tablespoons of flaxseed
2 teaspoons of salt
6 tablespoons of safflower oil or rapeseed oil

 

Preparation

 

1. Mix flour, crisp oat flakes, sesame, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, flaxseed, and 2 teaspoons of salt together in a bowl.
2. Add 0,375 l of cold water and the oil to the mixture.
3. Use a dough hook to knead all ingredients into a tough dough.
4. Take 2 baking trays and cover them with silicone baking sheets.
5. Spread the dough onto the baking sheets into two squares with 30x30 cm.
6. Cut the dough into ca. 15 pieces (each ca. 6x10 cm).
7. Back the crispbread in the oven at 225°C for 5 minutes.
8. Reduce the temperature to 175°C and bake for another 20 min.
The crispbread is ready-baked and crisp if the outer rim is slightly browned.
10. After taking the crispbread out of the oven, remove it immediately from the baking sheets and let it cool down.

 

Tipp: You can eat the crispbread for breakfast with some cream cheese or on its own for a healthy snack in between.

 

Let me know if you gave it a try. Until then...

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Shades of Living

-Spicy Plum Sauce-

Barbeque Season 

With probably only a few chances left for having a barbeque this summer, I thought I share with you a homemade spicy sauce for your grilled goods. It is a tasty alternative to the usual ketchup or mayonnaise and it is easy to prepare. Here is what you need.

Ingredients
500 g plums
250 g apples
500 g sugar
4 tbsp. curry
4 tbsp. raisins
1 tsp. milled caraway
1 tsp. ginger
1 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 tbsp. salt
1 cup vinegar

Cook all ingredients slowly until the sauce is viscid. Afterwards, mix the sauce with a blender. Finally fill the sauce into glasses, the same way you would do with jam.

The sauce is quite spicy. Keep that in mind when serving it to guests. If you love spicy dishes like me, you will love this plum sauce. I hope you have some barbeques ahead of you to give it a try. Please let me know if you did. Until next time...

P.S.: The plum sauce is also suited for every other fried meat not just grilled goods.

1 Comments

Shades of Living

DIY - Homemade Macarons

Sweet Treats

Here it is ... the Macaron recipe I promised you in my Monthly Roundup of July.

 

I love Macarons because they don't only taste heavenly, they also add that extra something to every coffee table. So finally, after several tries and errors, I found the one recipe that works and here it is.

Macaron Dough

 

Ingredients

100 g Almond flour
60 g Egg White
A Pinch of Salt
140 g Icing Sugar
Food colouring

1. Sift the almond flour.
2. Beat the egg white with the pinch of salt until stiff.
3. Sift the icing sugar and carefully fold it in the beaten egg white. Keep stirring until the beaten egg white mass becomes thick and creamy.
4.  Add food colouring of your choice to the egg white mass. I always add a little bit more food colouring because the colour fades a little bit during the baking process.
5. Now gently fold the almond flour under the egg white mass.
6. Line two baking trays with baking paper.
7.  Place the macaron dough in a piping bag with a nozzle and pipe small balls of mixture onto the baking paper. The balls should be the size of a 2€ coin.
8. Beat the baking trays a few times on the working surface to avoid that air bubbles sealed within the dough.
9. Now leave the macarons to dry for 20-30 minutes before baking them for 15min at 150 °C.
10. After baking let the macaroons cool for a while before carefully removing them from the baking paper.

Macaron Buttercream Filling

Ingredients
1/2 pack of custard powder
50 g Sugar
250 ml Milk
125 g soft Butter
Food colouring (optional)

1. Stir the custard powder with sugar and 5 tablespoons of milk until the mixture is smooth.
2. Bring milk to boil. Take it off the stove and stir in the custard powder mixture.
3. Under frequently stirring bring pudding to the boil. Let the pudding boil for ca. 1 minute.
4. Cover the pudding with cling film and leave to cool somewhat.
5. For the buttercream stir the butter until creamy.
6. Now stir in the lukewarm pudding spoon by spoon. If you want to colour the buttercream filling, add some food colouring.

Final Touch

1. Place one-half of your macarons with the flat side up on a baking tray.
2. Fill your buttercream  into a piping bag and squeeze small mounds onto the flat side of your macarons.
3. Place the second half of your macarons on top of the buttercream mounds. Gently press against the buttercream filling.
4. Store the macarons in the refrigerator until you serve them.

The Macarons are perfect if they are crisp on the outside and a little bit soft on the inside. This way they melt-in-the-mouth and don't crumble to the bite.

Let me know if you tried the recipe and if it worked out. Have fun baking.

2 Comments

Shades of Living

DIY - Homemade Garlic Pesto

One of my all time favourite food is pasta with wild garlic pesto. As I am a strong advocate of non-processed food, I can only indulge in this food for a limited time of the year. Specifically, spring and early summer. During this time, I make sure to store up some jars of homemade wild garlic. Here is how I prepare wild garlic pesto.

Ingredients
400g Wild Garlic
150g Parmesan Cheese
100g Pine Nuts
200-250ml Olive Öl

1. Pick over the wild garlic leaves, wash, spin dry and cut finely.
2. Put finely cut wild garlic, pine nuts, olive oil in a large container and purée them using a hand blender.
3. Pour the pesto into a jar with a screw cap.
4. Top the pesto with olive oil. Close the jar and store it in the refrigerator.

Every time after you have withdrawn wild garlic pesto from the jar, make sure to cover the remaining pesto with olive oil, to extend the shelf life of it. If you continuously store it in the refrigerator, you can use it up to 12 months.

I love this pesto because it is so versatile. You can use it as a pasta sauce, on top of your pizza dough instead of tomato sauce, in combination with several other garnishes or as a vegan spread.

Do you like wild garlic pesto as much as I do?

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Shades of Living

Shortbread - Recipe

Quick and easy baking

When it comes hosting, I am always striving for perfection. But as life goes, other tasks interfere my hosting preparations, and suddenly I realize I don´t have enough time on my hands for lengthy preparations. For these cases, I have some recipes up my sleeve which are quick and easy yet tasty and visually appealing. One of these is the Shortbread recipe. Shortbreads are some delicious and easily done pastries for your coffee break with some friends. Here is what you need.

Ingredients
320 g butter
100 g sugar
1/3 tsp. salt
500 g  flour
1 cup fine sugar

 

1. Beat the soft butter, the sugar and the salt until frothy. Knead the flour under it, and leave the dough to rest in the fridge for two hours.
2. Preheat the oven to 160ºC.
3. Roll out the dough to a thickness of about 0.5 cm. Pierce the dough several times with a fork and bake for 25-30 minutes.
4. Take the dough base out of the oven, immediately cut it into 1,5 x 7 cm strips, and roll them in sugar.
5. Let the biscuits cool down.

 

Tip: I never put the dough into the fridge because I have discovered it becomes too firm to work with.

 

Let me know if you gave it a try.

2 Comments

Shades of Living

South See Dreams-Cake in a Glass

Dessert Dreams

When it comes to food, I believe the taste and visual impact are equally important. This dessert fulfills both requirements equally. It's a modern twist on the classic cake. And it surprisingly easy to make.


Ingredients for 6 servings. Start by baking the cake base first.

Ingredients coconut japonaise base
5 egg white
a pinch of salt
50 g  sugar
70 g coconut flakes
60 g ground almonds
35 g semolina
145 g icing sugar


Beat egg whites, sugar, and salt into a homogeneous stiff white texture. Mix the icing sugar, finely ground coconut flakes, and semolina. Swift it and fold the mixture in the beaten egg white. Bake for 22-24 minutes at 160 °C (convection oven). Let the cake base cool down, then cut out single rounded cake bases, corresponding to the diameter of your glasses.
Mango Cocktail
Peel 2 mangos, remove the flesh from the stone and cut into small pieces. Soak the mango pieces in almond liqueur.
Mascarpone - Yoghurt cream
Mix 250 g mascarpone, 250 g natural yoghurt, 250 g whipped cream, 50 g sugar, and 1 pack of vanilla sugar.

Final touches / Composition from bottom to top
1. Start by covering the bottom of each glass with the mascarpone-yoghurt cream.
2. Then put 2-3 tablespoons of the mango cocktail on top of the cream.
3. Afterwards, add some more mascarpone-yoghurt cream. Place the cake base on top.
4. Purée the mango cocktail. Mix 2 tablespoons of coconut flakes and a little bit of the purée into the remaining mascarpone-yoghurt cream. Again, fill this mixture into the glasses.
5. Add 1/4 l mango juice to the remaining mango purée and blend with 3 leaves of dissolved gelatine. Divide the mixture between the glasses.
6. Put the cake in the fridge to let it firm.
7. Before serving garnish the cake with some cream.

Please report back if you gave it a try. Have fun trying out and enjoy

1 Comments

Shades of Living

Easter Bunny Chocolate Cake

- Easter Baking -

I love seasonal baking for whatever the time of year or occasion. I believe it adds the final touch to every celebration and a wow factor to a festive table. This year my recipe of choice is this Easter Bunny Chocolate Cake. Also, it looks really fancy, creating it was fairly simple.

To recreate this cake do the following:


Easter Bunny Chocolate Cake Recipe
Here is what you need:
- A loaf pan -length 22cm
- A bunny-shaped cookie cutter


Basic White Dough Recipe:
- 5 eggs
- 225g butter or margarine
- 150g sugar
- 1 package of vanilla
- 200g flour
- 2 teaspoons of baking powder
- A pinch of salt

1. Start by separating the eggs.
2. Beat the butter, 100g of sugar and the package of vanilla until frothy, gradually mix in the 5 egg yolks and beat everything together well.
3. Mix flour and baking powder and fold into the sugar/ egg mass.
4. Beat egg whites with salt until stiff, then add the remaining sugar gradually. Gently fold the beaten egg whites into the dough.
5. Place the dough onto a baking tray covered with baking parchment, spread it and bake for about 20-25 minutes at 170°C in the oven.
6. Let the cake cool down completely.
7. Now take the cookie cutter to cut out the easter bunnies. Try to get out about 20 bunny cookies.

Now move on to the dark dough.

Dark Dough Recipe
- ingredients as for the basic white dough
- 100g grated dark chocolate
- 3 tablespoons of cocoa


1. Repeat steps 1-4 from the basic dough recipe. Then fold the grated dark chocolate and the cocoa, into the dough.
2. Grease the loaf pan. Pour ca. 1/4 of the dark dough into the loaf pan.
3. Place the bunny cookies, densely packed, in one row, onto of the dough.
4. Place the loaf pan into the oven and bake for about 10 min at 170°C. Make sure to check if the bunny cookies stay in place. Should they fold to one side, add some extra dough to the side they lean to.
5. After the 10 min, add the remaining dough to the loaf pan and bake for further 45 to 50 min.
6. Once again, let the cake cool down.
7. To finish, cover the cake with dark chocolate coating/ couverture.

Tipp: This is cake recipe is not only limited to Easter celebrations. By adjusting the cookie cutter to the changed occasion (think heart-shaped for Valentine's day, star-shaped for Christmas, numbers for birthdays, and so on), you can make the cake work for every kind of celebration.

Enjoy baking, let me know if you gave it a try and Happy Easter to all of you.

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